Ricochet News

Taxi operators getting their house in order in the Bay's townships

By Afikile Lugunya - Nov 23, 2018
Taxi operators getting their house in order in the Bay's townships

Commuters travelling between the township areas of Port Elizabeth over the past few months have probably noticed how things have improved on the roads with township cabs and taxi's - commonly called jikeleza's.

The reason is partly because local taxi operators say they have decided to do away with the old perception of an undisciplined industry that often placed money before the lives of passengers.

In the past, the jikeleza's could stop anywhere - you have probably seen videos of taxis' stopping in the middle of the road or even in the middle of a busy intersection to drop off or pick up passengers.

There have also been cases where passengers have been robbed or raped after boarding the jikeleza's.

Those days are gone says Uncedo Service Taxi Association, Port Elizabeth Vice Chairperson, Mzwanele Qwabe.

Registered taxis and cabs are now required to only drop off or pick up passengers at designated points - with Njoli taxi rank and Daku Taxi rank being the main hubs before the trip to Motherwell.

Qwabe said that the new system has also made it easy for people to trace drivers in the event that someone never arrived home after boarding a taxi at these points or in the case of a robbery.

Taxi operators getting their house in order

"It's not that we had a fight with how the drivers were working, but real issue was the complaints that kept coming in from the passengers in our office," he described.

"Cars were untraceable even when registration numbers were brought forward. For example, you could get a Toyota Corolla's number plate, but when the police try to track it down, they would find that number plate to be belonging to a Fort Fiesta in Port St Johns," he said.

After thinking hard about the misfortunes that were happening to taxi passengers, Qwabe said that Uncedo Taxi Association Executives held a meeting and agreed that enough is enough.

"The decision we have taken has helped us a lot to be able to identify the cars and the drivers."

Jikeleza's don't cross M17 without reporting to the designated taxi ranks to have their registration numbers registered as well as their names.

There are also cars - the Iliso patrol vehicles, that go around patrolling for stubborn drivers, who refuse to obey the new law.

One jikeleza driver, who refused to be named, said that he once tried to circumvent the new system, but ran out of  luck at the Motherwell NU5 Sasol Garage where an an Iliso patrol car caught up with him and he was fined R1 000.

Although some drivers are having a hard time adjusting to the new system, commuters are happy that they will now be safe in the jikeleza's.

A mother of two, Noluntu Sigenu, said: "I feel much safe now because I have a place to report the driver if he doesn't behave the way he should on the road."

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